Love, in a word.

Today I was asked to define the word “love” in less than 25 words- to limit the definition of the single world’s greatest source of power, hope, and joy to just over two dozen words. I thought to myself, “Can such a thing be done? How does one even define love?  In slightly more than 25 words, I can attempt to describe the concept, but, define? Do I dare try to do such a definition justice?”

I can describe how it looks – the sparkle in the eyes of every newlywed, the 90 year old couple at church who still hold hands under the hymn book, a mother holding her newborn baby, a friend who looks past failures, the missionary who leaves his home because of his passion for others.  I can describe how it feels – a steady, inner peace when things seem hopeless, predictable bursts of overwhelming joy, an unexplainable desire to give. I can describe how it sounds, even – the embellishments in a Chopin nocturne, the power of a Beethoven symphony, the harmony in a Beach Boys song, the heart-felt words of all the “silly love songs” that “some people wanna fill the world with…(And what’s wrong with that?).”

But can love fit into a simple, 25 word definition? I would say that the answer is yes. In fact, 25 words are not needed. We only need one- “God.” God is love. Love is not something that God does, or something that God has, but it is something that He IS. Every time we show love to another, we are showing God. This is what makes love so magical. This is why the world has such a fascination with love- why we are constantly seeking and longing for it. We are empty without love because we are empty without God.

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